Diplomatic programmer

Linus Torvalds (creator of linux kernel)  on reply to why git is not written in C++



> When I first looked at Git source code two things struck me as odd:

> 1. Pure C as opposed to C++. No idea why. Please don’t talk about portability,

> it’s BS.


*YOU* are full of bullshit.


C++ is a horrible language. It’s made more horrible by the fact that a lot

of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it’s much much

easier to generate total and utter crap with it. Quite frankly, even if

the choice of C were to do *nothing* but keep the C++ programmers out,

that in itself would be a huge reason to use C.


In other words: the choice of C is the only sane choice. I know Miles

Bader jokingly said “to piss you off”, but it’s actually true. I’ve come

to the conclusion that any programmer that would prefer the project to be

in C++ over C is likely a programmer that I really *would* prefer to piss

off, so that he doesn’t come and screw up any project I’m involved with.


C++ leads to really really bad design choices. You invariably start using

the “nice” library features of the language like STL and Boost and other

total and utter crap, that may “help” you program, but causes:


– infinite amounts of pain when they don’t work (and anybody who tells me

that STL and especially Boost are stable and portable is just so full

of BS that it’s not even funny)


– inefficient abstracted programming models where two years down the road

you notice that some abstraction wasn’t very efficient, but now all

your code depends on all the nice object models around it, and you

cannot fix it without rewriting your app.


In other words, the only way to do good, efficient, and system-level and

portable C++ ends up to limit yourself to all the things that are

basically available in C. And limiting your project to C means that people

don’t screw that up, and also means that you get a lot of programmers that

do actually understand low-level issues and don’t screw things up with any

idiotic “object model” crap.


So I’m sorry, but for something like git, where efficiency was a primary

objective, the “advantages” of C++ is just a huge mistake. The fact that

we also piss off people who cannot see that is just a big additional



If you want a VCS that is written in C++, go play with Monotone. Really.

They use a “real database”. They use “nice object-oriented libraries”.

They use “nice C++ abstractions”. And quite frankly, as a result of all

these design decisions that sound so appealing to some CS people, the end

result is a horrible and unmaintainable mess.


But I’m sure you’d like it more than git.


2 thoughts on “Diplomatic programmer

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